The purpose of A River Runs Through Us is to further the development of the hiking trails and the living outdoor activity area within the Bowmanville Creek Valley, which is a river valley running through the heart of Bowmanville, Ontario. The trail and river development allows for hiking, biking, snow shoeing and skiing throughout the valley. This latest expansion of the project will include extension of hiking trails along the creek, construction of a bridge that will connect trail systems and offer an outdoor education area, as well as the building of a new fish passage along Bowmanville Creek to allow for the spawning of trout and salmon. The trout and salmon stocks that migrate along Bowmanville Creek allow for sport fishing along the Creek and make a vital contribution to the overall viability of the sport fishery in southern Ontario.
What it means to our community
“A River Runs Through Us” is the name of our project because the Bowmanville Creek Valley, since the founding of our town in 1858, has weaved its way through both the geography and the heart of our community. For the last decade, the Valleys 2000 charity has worked to preserve the creek valley and transform the area into an outdoor activity space that is accessible to everyone at no cost. Our ongoing project allows for the entire community to hike, bike and explore the great outdoors. After a day spent hiking through the trails and observing nature, families can exit the trail system near the downtown and go for a lunch or drink at a local shop. For decades, children have learned to fish along the creek banks and our volunteer committee wants to preserve and enhanced this important outdoor activity space for generations to come.
A River Runs Through Us is the latest stage of the Valleys 2000 project and is raising funds to expand the trail system, build a viewing bridge that also connects and expands the trail system, enhance the outdoor education areas and preserve the fish population for generations to come through the construction of a fish bypass. A River Runs Through Us will be the jewel in the crown of the creek valley in Bowmanville as it will allow more people from our community to get outside and explore the trails and nature that is at their doorstep. It is also our objective to ecologically sensitive and preserve the environment, so our charity is working with the Ministry of Natural Resources and conservation groups on all aspects of the project.
What we hope to accomplish
The Valleys 2000 committee hopes to raise $450,000 for the latest stage of the trail and river system, which will allow for expanded and connected hiking trails, a viewing bridge along the creek for hikers, an outdoor education area and fish passage designed to replicate the natural environment. We hope to raise the funds in early 2012 and commence work on this stage of the trail and creek system this summer.
Success will be measured by our ability to raise the funds to build all elements of the final stage of the Bowmanville Creek Trail System and Fish Passage. Reaching our goal will allow for the trail expansion, bridge, education area and fish ladder. Success will further be measured by the project allowing even more members of the community to get outside and get active in this living park, as well as preserving the trout and salmon populations for generations of anglers to come.
How this project will help the community
Valleys 2000 provides a trail and river system that promotes walking, hiking, running, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snow shoeing and fishing. As mentioned, there are also plans for ecological walking tours with local schools and community groups as well. The project will help more people from our community get active by providing them a wonderful park and trail system at their doorstep. It will be free for all to use and will be accessible to all ages and abilities.
Helping an entire community
The hiking trails, fishing and access to nature provided by the Bowmanville Creek Valley is a focal point for the entire community of Clarington, a municipality with a population of approximately 80,000 people. From anglers to naturalists, fitness enthusiasts to community organizations, the latest stage of the Valleys project will affect the entire community and will help preserve important fish populations for thousands of recreational fishermen across Ontario.
Fish Passage Project Details & Milestones
- The Bowmanville & Soper Creek Watershed together incorporate some 165 sq. km.
- This watershed contains some 31 fish species
- Both creeks merge just north of Lake Ontario, where they then flow through a Coastal Provincially Significant Wetland.
- Bowmanville Creek Wetlands lead to a total of 440 km. of tributaries, 25 km. of which is critical Spawning & Nursing Habitat.
- Each year Bowmanville Creek hosts Spring & Fall migrations of spawning adult Rainbow Trout (Steelheads) & Brown Trout as well as Chinook, Coho & Atlantic Salmon.
- These spawning grounds are important in conserving the healthy fish stocks in Lake Ontario
- Equally important is the prevention of non-native invasive species such as the Rudd, European Ruffle, Sea Lamprey & Round Goby. These would displace native fish species & negativley affect aquatic habitat, which affects the health of the entire watershed.
- According to the Central Lake Ontario Fisheries Management Plan, (CLOCA/MNR, 2007), the Goodyear Dam acts as a ‘partial barrier to the upstream migration of fish’
- This report recommended ‘improvements for the passage of migratory salmanoids to upstream spawning habitats.’
- Simply put, most of the larger fish cannot make it past the present fish ladder. They cannot spawn & thus their genetic traits are lost to future generations of fish.
- The challenge then is to build a fish passage that will allow native species fish to gain easier access to the spawning grounds upstream at the same time preventing the non-native species from doing the same.
- Fortunately, the invasive species do not have the ability to jump, thus a jumping component will prevent them from going upstream.
- Valleys 2000, in consultation with CLOCA, MNR, & others has selected a type of fish passage that incorporates a Natural Bypass Channel around the Goodyear (Veyance) dam. It includes a jumping component as well as 5 riffles/pool sequences, designed to replicate the natural environment while remaining in a fixed position & maintaining flow control as well as a water supply to Veyance Technologies.
- The new fish ladder will have a grade of 4% (the present one is 20%) & an average top width of 5.5 m. (the present one is 1.2 m.)
- The design will include a small bridge & viewing area, providing for public viewing & educational opportunities.
- Construction of the New Fish Passage will take place in the summer of 2012 & must comply with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources timing window for coldwater fisheries (July 1st to Sept. 15th)
- Site Stabilization: Upon completion, all exposed soil will be seeded & mulched. The surrounding riparian zone will be planted with native shrubs & plants.
- Valleys 2000, with the support of the Federal Fisheries Department & the Ministry of Natural Resources, has entered into a Collaborative Agreement with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, Veyance Technologies, Ontario Power Generation, Float Fishing Conservation Group, & the Municipality of Clarington.
- Under this agreement, Valleys 2000 will:
- Be the lead application taking responsibility for managing the project under its Memorandum of Understanding
- Speak publicly on behalf of the Collaborative
- Complete the fundraising necessary for the project
- A number of community-minded & nature-loving individuals & groups have indicated their willingness to support us financially
- We are planning a number of fund-raising events, which will be posted on this site
- The Valleys 2000 fund-raising committee is asking for your help in funding this worthy cause.
Progress to Date
In October 2011, our consulting engineers from Greck & Associates have completed their surveys and construction estimates, now costing approximately $340,000. The estimate now accounts for an increased cost due to poor deep soil conditions, making it necessary to excavate deeply & use extensive concrete footings.
Fundraising for this project officially kicked off at this year’s Bowmanville Applefest, on October 15th, 2011. In spite of threatening weather, the ceremonies went well, with Mayor Adrian Foster sharing the ribbon cutting duties with MMP John O’Toole. Al Strike then led the crowd with a stirring rendition of ‘Down by the Old Mill Stream’ Our canvassers are now out in force & we encourage you to contribute what you can afford to help us help the fish.
A River Runs Through Us Gala Dinner, held on March 2 at the Garnet B. Rickard Recreation Complex in Bowmanville, was a smash success, raising an astonishing $85,000 in one night for Valleys 2000’s latest conservation project and unveiling an exciting announcement that the Ontario Trillium Foundation will grant $150,000 to Valleys 2000.
On March 21st Molson Coors Community Cheer funding announced their support of $25,000